Swallow Shadows on Barn Wall

On a road trip to Klickitat County last month, Chan and I drove past this road side barn around noon just outside of Trout Lake, Washington.   It was hard to miss the large, darting shadows of the many cliff swallows – sometimes 15 or more at a time - that animated the barn wall.  It was a unique and thrilling sight!  Chan patiently sat in the hot car for 20 minutes as I tried to get a good picture, but when I got home, I was disappointed with the results.  I had shot it at too slow a shutter speed and should have used my tripod.  So, the following week, I drove the 90 miles back out to the barn, waited for the mid-day sun to be in the right position again for the swallows to cast shadows, setup my tripod and sat under a camouflage burlap cover-up for an hour and a half, shooting over 200 shots.  The swallows threw shadows only when they flew about 2-3 feet from the wall and only at mid-day.  They also came-and-went, with long periods of sometimes only a single bird or no birds at all.  This is the hardest I’ve worked for a photo in a long time, but it sure was fun.   

On a road trip to Klickitat County last month, Chan and I drove past this road side barn around noon just outside of Trout Lake, Washington.   It was hard to miss the large, darting shadows of the many cliff swallows – sometimes 15 or more at a time - that animated the barn wall.  It was a unique and thrilling sight!

Chan patiently sat in the hot car for 20 minutes as I tried to get a good picture, but when I got home, I was disappointed with the results.  I had shot it at too slow a shutter speed and should have used my tripod.

So, the following week, I drove the 90 miles back out to the barn, waited for the mid-day sun to be in the right position again for the swallows to cast shadows, setup my tripod and sat under a camouflage burlap cover-up for an hour and a half, shooting over 200 shots.

The swallows threw shadows only when they flew about 2-3 feet from the wall and only at mid-day.  They also came-and-went, with long periods of sometimes only a single bird or no birds at all.

This is the hardest I’ve worked for a photo in a long time, but it sure was fun.